Raising awareness on local issues through poetry

Can social change happen through poetry? 100,000 poets across the globe are hoping so and 16 of them will be in Bangalore this Saturday (September 20), reading their work at the Atta Galatta bookshop in Koramangala.

The 100,000 ‘Poets for Change’ movement started in 2010 as a worldwide initiative to connect poets in solidarity to bring about change but it is the third time for a Bangalore event. Co-organiser and writer Mathangi Subramanian said the event is an extremely effective way of raising awareness about local issues.

“Poetry is a powerful tool for empathy, seeing things from different perspectives, for me poetry has been a way to step into someone else’s shoes.”

It is also a beautiful way of dealing with some ugly themes like rape and sexual violence,” she said. She said this year’s event had no specific theme but many of the poems are focussed on gender, sparked by the Delhi gang-rape.

While many of the topics are serious and some even taboo, Subramanian said it’s not all doom and gloom and there will be some humour.

Co-organizer and poet Tejaswini Gopalaswamy will read a poem about her love for Bangalore. She said while poetry can be thought of as boring, this year’s event will be anything but - there will be something for everyone. “This year we wanted to try to make it fun, get people to collaborate and get musicians and poets to work together.”
Gopalaswamy said even if the event only changed one person’s mind about a topical issue, it proved literature was effective way of doing this.

48 submissions

This year there will be a mixture of established poets and newcomers, selected from 48 submissions. There will also be an open mike and a chance for people to mingle after the readings. The original founder of the Bangalore event, Shikha Malaviya, said the name of the event is aspirational but it represents the breadth that the founders envisioned.
“Imagine that many poets, artists gathering all over the world to create awareness and spur change, just that thought is so powerful and if we keep thinking, dreaming and striving, things happen.”

On Sep 20

The event starts at 6 pm, September 20 at the Atta Galatta bookshop.
The poets are: Sourav Roy, Pramodh Shenoy, Saurav Sinha, Minal Hajrawala, Amruta & Bharath, Mani Rao, Neeraj Pandey, Monica Mody, Bhumika Anand, Bejoy Balagopal, Rayla Noel, Sridivya Srinivasan, Trupti Arabbati, Atul Jain, Akanksha Bumb and Tejaswini Gopalaswamy.

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